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That Mothers Might Live

That Mothers Might Live is a 1938 American short drama film directed by Fred Zinnemann. The short is a brief account of Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis and his discovery of the need for cleanliness in 19th-century maternity wards, thereby significantly decreasing maternal mortality, and of his struggle to gain acceptance of his idea. Although Semmelweis ultimately failed in his lifetime, later scientific luminaries advanced his work in spirit like microbiologist Louis Pasteur, who provided a scientific theoretical explanation of Semmelweis’ observations by helping develop the germ theory of disease and the British surgeon, Dr. Joseph Lister who revolutionized medicine putting Pasteur’s research to practical use. In 1939, at the 11th Academy Awards, the film won an Oscar for Best Short Subject (One-Reel).

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